Thursday, December 1, 2011
while i am here on an island .. the new Blue Five Notebook went live. the theme of it: Black/White. i sent some images to Michelle Elvy and Sam Rasnake, the wonderful editors of the notebook series a while ago, and one now turned into the cover: a picture of the genocide memorial in Berlin. it's a memorial of a different kind: a field of stones, open to walk through, even to sit on them, to get lost, to contemplate. the outer stones are small, so you keep the view at first. then it turns into a labyrinth, cutting the view, leaving you there in a world that turned huge and solid, with no visible exit.
Berlin, it is a place that seemed far away from here until this morning, but now connect to another moment of this week that isn't about being on an island, but about the past, and the world: Christa Wolf died. i read about it in the news this morning, and what followed during the days were the memories of her books - her diary, her novel on Tschernobyl, and the essay she wrote earlier this year in the Zeit, at age 82, her mind still bright and clear. she's seen so many sides of Germany - born in 1929, she witnessed the second world war, and lived in East Germany - and always spoke her own mind.
i just looked for the blog note on the Zeit essay, here's a quote:
the dilemma of our society
the national "Zeit" (Time") newspaper celebrated its 65th anniversary with a "best of" journal, with essays from authors. included: Christa Wolf - probably one of the most influential and known writers from the former East Germany. she was born in 1929. in 1965, she protested against the censorship of writers at the national literary meeting - and wrote about that moment in 2009. Wolf also wrote a novel after Tschernobyl, "Störfall" - and now was interviewed about Fukushima. Unafraid of challenging statements, she stated a thought that made me keep the page:
"Je bequemer wir leben, auch durch die massenhafte Herstellung zum Teil überflüssiger Industriewaren, desto näher kommen wir einer Zerstörung unserer Welt. Wir müssen das Dilemma unserer Gesellschaft endlich diskutieren." -
"The more comfortable we live, also based on the mass production of partly unneeded industrial goods, the closer we move towards the destruction of our world. We finally need to discuss the dilemma of our society." - blog note
Christa Wolf also lived in Berlin for a while.
i just looked for the original image of the title above:
here, i am still reading the Trojan road trip book. which leads both back to Odysseus and the Greek gods (jhere's a line from the Greek mythology, about the arrival of Gods: "First came Chaos"). parallel to that, it leads through North America: Oregon, Montana (hi, Sherry!), North Dakota. all those places. reading and thinking about them while on an island makes both stand out more: the here, the there. especially as this island used to be a transit place, a place for ships to stop on the way into the new world, beyond the Atlantic. it still is, in a painful way: it's a place Africans try to reach as passway to Europe. and at the same time, it's a holiday island. 2 sides, again.
PS: and an extra link - while looking for the Wolf essay i realized that she also is part of the mail-dialogue that i put up again for the language/place carnival. the dialogue also includes own reflections on black and white.